Catholic priest delivers twins in cathedral grounds

Catholic priest

A Catholic priest suddenly found himself taking on tasks usually performed by a midwife when her helped deliver a homeless woman’s twins in the grounds right outside his cathedral.

“What is God trying to tell me through the extraordinary experience?” he wondered.

It was just a ordinary errand that began the extraordinary chain of events for Father Jesús Mariscal of St Paul Cathedral, Washington State.

He was in the cathedral grounds, just passing a statue of the Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, when he noticed a distressed, homeless woman standing near it.

She was screaming for help, saying she was “having a baby!”

Realising the birth was imminent, Mariscal called 911 and helped the woman lie down.

Putting his phone on speaker, he followed the 911 operator’s instructions. Within seconds the woman’s son was born.

Just as Mariscal handed the new mother her infant, she said “I’m having another!”

He found himself delivering the second boy.

This birth was different. The child was still in the amniotic sac and the baby was moving inside it.

Following the 911 operator’s instructions, he broke the sac… but when he did, the baby wasn’t breathing.

The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck.

The 911 operator told Mariscal to lie the child on his side and gently tap his back. The treatment worked and the baby started to cry.

Eventually paramedics arrived. The new mum and babies went to hospital.

Mariscal texted a couple apologising for being late for their marriage preparation appointment.

“I’m sorry … I was just helping a lady deliver twins” he wrote.

Assuming he was joking to excuse his tardiness, they responded “LOL Father. You don’t have to lie.”

Calling from the peripheries

The homeless woman and her twins, born at 30 weeks rather than 40, were taken to the hospital.

Mariscal has visited the babies but their mother disappeared hours after being admitted. She has reportedly not yet returned.

“It’s a beautiful story on one side, but heartbreaking on the other” Marical says.

“It was a surreal experience … like something from a movie.

“I was there holding a baby with my bloody hands, and the baby was all bloody as well, and I’m dressed in clericals. And I’m a priest in front of the shrine of Our Lady.

“And I was thinking, ‘What is God trying to tell me? What are you trying to tell me, God? What is this about?’”

Mariscal says he shared the experience at Mass the next day. Parishioners thought he was telling an “apocryphal” story that had no basis in reality.

So, what might God have been saying?

Perhaps that life is precious and fragile, and that a Church that rallies around the disadvantaged, the homeless, the naked, the defenseless and the vulnerable is the kind of Church Christ intended to build.

Mariscal says this story is “about the mother and the babies and how they are. The twins and the woman are the protagonists of God’s love … on the peripheries … the ones God is calling us to embrace with our service and love for our neighbours.”


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